CTU members inadvertently expose Karen Lewis’ big lie

Apr 18, 2013 by

CHICAGO – Without realizing it, Chicago Teachers Union members have exposed their president, Karen Lewis, as being a bit of a con artist.

=For months, Lewis has been telling audiences that Chicago Public Schools’ $1 billion deficit is a “myth” and a “lie” being advanced by school district leaders to justify various budget cuts and classroom reforms.

“It’s a manufactured crisis,” Lewis declared in January, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Apparently, even Lewis’ CTU underlings don’t believe her rhetoric.

Medill Reports-Chicago reports that CTU leaders are now acknowledging the reality of CPS’ deficit and are blaming it on big banks and other corporate interests that “make profits at the expense of schools.”

According to CTU leaders, four financial institutions – Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Loop Capital – are unfairly earning millions of dollars in interest on loans made to Chicago Public Schools prior to the Great Recession of 2008.

Medill Reports-Chicago explains: “When CPS took out bonds, or loans, prior to 2008, they had variable interest rates that were expected to increase over time, so CPS traded its variable rates for fixed rates at banks.”

Matt Luskin, a CTU spokesman, claims that after the 2008 economic meltdown brought variable interest rates down to 0.1 to 0.5 percent, CPS was stuck paying a fixed rate of 3.66 percent, reports Medill Reports-Chicago.

CTU leaders want the financial institutions to take a lower interest rate on their loans so the financially troubled school district has more money to give to disgruntled union members.

Since no self-respecting bank president would ever agree to such a scheme, CTU leaders are “conducting training sessions for parents and teachers to organize protests” against those institutions, reports Medill Reports-Chicago.

A recent training session “ended with a demonstration outside of the Bank of America at 140 S. Ashland Ave., where Luskin taped a letter to the window requesting that the bank renegotiate CPS contracts after the bank went into lockdown,” the news site reports.

“We don’t believe it’s a fair process, so we need to find other ways to fight back and put some pressure on the leaders of the city to do the right thing,” Luskin explained to Medill Reports-Chicago.

Danny Kaplan, a member of Jewish Solidarity and Action for Schools, agreed.

“I think that not just expressing anger … or rallying around CPS, but also rallying around corporate targets that aren’t at the front and aren’t as immediately visible, I think is really important,” Kaplan said.

Union members and supporters are planning more bank protests in the coming weeks.

That’s their First Amendment prerogative, of course.

But if CTU members hold another protest, somebody should at least pull Lewis aside and explain to her why they’re doing it.

Maybe then Lewis will realize nobody’s buying her “the deficit is a myth” line anymore.

Perhaps Lewis will even give Chicago families and taxpayers a bit of straight talk for a change.

CTU members inadvertently expose Karen Lewis’ big lie – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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